Earlier this week, I published my findings from the survey to find out who reads the web strategy blog (part 1/3). Now that we have a good sense of who’s in the community, let’s see how you use me. By the way, I’m extremely happy that you use me, as I’m publishing these thoughts and content so you trust me, expand my platform, you’ll grow with me, and eventually work with me.
Here are the findings of how people use this blog, see the finding, my thoughts, and the associated data. Please note this data was compiled by an official Forrester survey, over 88 responses.
A bit of humility…
These findings are overall positive, and I’m gracious and thankful for you being part of this community. I make a lot of mistakes (and consider myself an average, rookie analyst) but am glad to share my passion with you. Regardless of these marks, I’ll still strive to learn, improve my weaknesses, and help others. Thank you!
Finding: Readers would recommend this blog to others
To me, this is the strongest metrics of the entire survey, this net ratings score indicates that you’d be willing to share this blog with others –the highest commendation possible.
“Would you recommend this blog to a friend or colleague?”
Finding: Many posts read
Many readers are digging into every post that is published, and that’s great. Based upon the Google Analytics time on site (attention data) it’s clear that most skim, but some meaty posts have up to 5 minutes attention rate, suggesting true in depth reading. I’m constantly in a state of learning from the commenters, you help me (and the community) to get smarter.
“How frequently do you read Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang?”
Finding: Most have been reading since the last half year
This is interesting, while many new readers came around since I joined Forrester, there’s still quite a few older readers that have been with me since Hitachi. Forrester has been a tremendous platform, I’ve doubled my readership since I started.
“For how long have you been reading Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang?”
Finding: Most somewhat agree this blog helps to inform the actions I take at work
“This blog helps inform the actions I take at work”
This is a powerful metric, and it’s skewing towards the right bar graphs, which indicates that this blog influences workplace behavior. To what degree? that’s debatable, as it could likely be ‘what not to do’, heh.
Finding: Most strongly agree this blog helps to gain industry-specific insights
Similar to the finding above, this suggests that the community is heavily learning on where this blog suggests the market is headed. I’m in the blessed perched position where I can talk to many vendors and clients, and you’re seeing just some of the output on this blog.
“This blog helps me gain industry-specific insights”
Finding: Most somewhat agree that this blog helps to keep up on cutting edge marketing tech
“This blog keeps me up to date on cutting edge marketing technologies”
Finding: Many strongly agree that this blog is a cheap way to get analyst info
Not sure if this is good or bad, but I can assure you, you’re only seeing a small percentage of the insight that I give to clients in the form of reports, advisory, inquiry, and in person meetings. Also, blog posts are clearly no where near the accuracy nor specific insight and recommendations that you can get from reports.
“This blog is a less expensive source of Forrester information than becoming a client”
Finding: You come here to learn dammit, no f*cking fun allowed
Apparently, I’m no fun. Heh, well that’s ok, this blog is intended for business people, read the tag line on my banner, this is my mission. Although it skews slight to the right, as a somewhat, the goal of this blog is to educate, not entertain.
“[Does]This blog provides me with entertainment?”
Finding: Most somewhat agree that this blog helps with marketing program performance
I don’t discuss marketing mixes, nor do I discuss pricing, but I do discuss measurement, being effective and efficient so no surprises here.
“This blog helps me improve marketing program performance”
Finding: Most somewhat agree that this blog helps to develop effective marketing strategies
I’m somewhat scared that marketers would rely on my blog alone to develop marketing strategies, so I certainly hope this is a supplement. Some of the content here is editorial, and you should recognize what is a best practice and what is not.
“This blog helps me to develop effective marketing strategies”
Finding: This blog doesn’t impact finding technology vendors
Yup, no surprise here, I often list out indexes of industries, but I don’t make specific recommendations, that’s reserved for Forrester clients.
“This blog helps me find technology and/or services partners”
Finding: This blog doesn’t impact building teams or skills
No surprised here, either. I don’t discuss team building, or what the right skills are (except for the emerging social media strategist and community manager), no worries.
“This blog helps me build the right teams and skills”
Thanks again for reading, and keep on using me!
Twitter has been down quite a bit, in fact, according to royal pingdom, they’re the social network that has been down the most over Q1, 2008. Most suggest it’s due to the lack of ability to scale, and as more and more users come, and more and more friend connections come, you can see how infinity complex the site becomes as people (like me) pump out thousands of messages to thousands of users. If the volume of messages on twitter were graphed, it would be a quickly accelerating curve, getting steeper and steeper.
With that said, web users (like myself) are fickle, we find the lowest barriers to communicate, go there, and tell others. In fact, I’ve noticed many conversations shifting over to Friendfeed, as I pointed out in my last post.
Twitter has been good to me, and to you, it’s a communication platform like none other, where news (good and bad) breaks before anywhere else (LA fires, bombs in Times Square, China Earthquake, Arrested in Egypt, etc), it is perhaps the fastest communication network we’ve ever seen (esp as mobile devices are now ubiquitous), there are no editors to create filters, no barriers, (other than downtime). Of course, it has it’s downtime too, for example the 140 characters limited my ability to communicate an upcoming research project, and it was mis-interpreted
On the other hand, many argue that customers ‘owe’ Twitter nothing, and this is what to expect from a free service. Let the market decide –capitalism at it’s finest. In many ways they are right, and ultimately the market will decide, we vote with our clicks.
Despite our frustrations, a few months ago, I signed the customer company pact (186 others did too), it’s an agreement, designed to the age of social computing and the voice of the customer to prevail. It asks us to be patient, understanding, and to show the company the same respect that you’d want to show you. As you know Twitter themselves last night put up a graph of their downtime, and are demonstrating some openness.
I realize that we’re getting close to a breaking point, with Groundswells (where users take over) calling for Twit-outs, and if the downtime persists, Twitter is going to lose members –starting with the influencers who will drag their communities.
So before you pack your bags, leave that “Dear John” letter, make sure you’ve spent all your ‘patience points’ before walking out that door.
Before I went on vacation, I asked you to provide me with raw, real feedback about this blog. 88 of you did, and I learned a lot, the highlights include:
High Level Summary
Overall, the readers of this blog are above satisfied with the blog, with the content and insights provided. Many readers are in the marketing services industry, at small companies and in the United States. There is room for improvement to add more case studies, and provide how to guides, and to improve grammar, and publish more succinctly.
Read the rest of the results (only for the data geeks) there are tons of graphs, data, and qualitative feedback.
How sophisticated readers are with social media
How they consume this blog
How often do they read
Does this blog help them with their job
How big their companies are
What titles they have
What industries they are from
Do I write too often?
I’m reading each response, and will use this to improve, be better, and continue to help build the community. Thank you again!
Jennifer Joseph of Forrester Research has posted her findings from all FOUR Forrester blogs, read her analysis, and see her slides.
I’m having lunch with the CEO of Compete Scott Ernst, after speaking at his client event, we’re kidding each other about who’s blog is better, in fact there’s been two rankings about it, Ad age and we’re at a photo finish over at technobabble, . Many of you may be familiar with compete.com, but they do more than that.
In his presentation I learned a lot more about what they do, but over lunch, I just told him that awareness is very low: “Until today, I had no idea these other services you provide”. He agreed, and I suggested we do a market test to ask people what they think
I know from my recent survey that most of my readers are the people he also wants to reach (see graph), so lemme ask you
Leave a comment below, what do you think Compete does?
Scott, who blogs on the Compete team blog, is interested to hear what you have to say, I hope he responds from his blog, and I’ll update this post.
Left: Results from a survey: “How do you consume the content on Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang?”
Well, that’s an understatement really. The readers of this blog are collectively smarter than any author, and I recognize that.
If you’ve been reading me for a while, I ask questions, as I want to know what people think. I read every single comment, and often respond to comments , questions and followups.
I recently ran a survey to find out how people are using my blog, and most are reading this blog via RSS in a feedreader, they’re not even visiting the site. While feedreaders are great for getting content when you want, where you want, and in the format you want, you’ll miss out on the wisdom being generated in the comments.
For example, last week’s post on Six Career tips generated dozens and dozens of juicy tips that can help you in your career, but if you’re reading that only in the feedreader, you’re really missing out.
So I encourage you to once in a while come back and visit to see what’s happening in the discussions, that’s where the real value is.
Update, a few hours later: A few people in the comments requested a summary. Ok here’s a comment summary: A few people requested a comment summary. This is the last time I’ll be doing a comment summary, ha!
Related: Shoemoney, a master at search marketing doesn’t take his commenters that seriously, I know many of those who have commented, I have a high degree of trust for my commenters.
Embrace your Customers
At Forrester, we use the term Embracing as a social strategy where customers and employees work together using social tools to build next-generation products. Quite a change for the strong headed product manager, who now has to set the roadmap, while in collaboration with customers.
Popular Examples: Dell and Starbucks
We’re all familiar with the popular Dell “Idea Storm” website that let customers vote for which features and products they wanted to be bore to the marketplace. In Dell’s case, the linux community asked for a UBUNTU box, which was created and launched and sold. I wish I was a fly on the wall when Dell’s strategic partners at Microsoft found out about this.
Recently, Starbucks has launched My Starbucks Ideas, where customers are voting for improved services or products in each of the stores. Looking at the site, the request for free wireless or ‘punchcards’ for frequent customers is under consideration or has been improved.
Both powered by SalesForce
Both of these sites are powered by Salesforce’s product, Ideas. Move on over, there’s a new player in town called UserVoice that offers the same features right on their site.
UserVoice, a new kid on the block
I’ve played around with UserVoice and even created a version for my own Web Strategy blog, the simple features made it easy to setup and let others submit ideas. I’ve not stress tested this service to see if it can withstand enterprise activity like SalesForce can, but it’s a nod to a common feature (voting) that we should start to expect to see in white label social networks. (in fact, I know of a few that are going to launch this)
Reporting, Query features, and easy to setup
Other UserVoice features to include Google Analytics, and the ability to collect demographic information and let owners know of suggestions. Owners of voting sites can also segment their customers by different purchasing sizes, in order to help prioritize. Also, polling features will help to put color around suggestions from users, and other conduits to improve the connectivity between employees and customers.
For example, I created this own Web Strategy UserVoice page where you can go and make suggestions on how I can improve this website.
If you’re a small company or individual blogger, or run a niche product, I encourage you to try out UserVoice, test to see how it scales, and come back and leave comments on your experience on this post. If you’re from a large company that has thousands or millions of customers, start with SalesForce and also trial UserVoice. Anyone that wants a fully custom user experience should start with SalesForce.
Update: I’ve received some tweets and comments also suggesting IdeaScale (which I think is the same as this product of the same name), I’ve not looked at it, please leave a comment if you’ve a review. Also, passionate CEO Matt from BrightIdea left a comment about his enterprise class competitor to SalesForce, I look forward to a formal Forrester briefing from him, let’s take a closer look at this growing segment.
What to Expect
UserVoice would make for a good partner for any of those white label social networks, and could even be an acquisition target for a vendor that’s not up to speed in this emerging feature set.
Expect other White Label Social Networking vendors to offer this feature, soon it will be on the ‘checklist’, of features. Customer voting? “Yup we got that.”
They aren’t the only ones to watch, Get Satisfaction, a support site for any product, anywhere, (no reason to go to that irrelvant corporate website) has launched, and customers are self-supporting each other, and some savvy companies have their employees there participating. Without surprise, I’m there representing Forrester, although there’s been no activity. Satisfaction is still very startup focused, I hope to see some Fortune 1000 companies appear on their site.
Lastly, UserVoice itself is, “eating their own dog food” so to speak, using their own service to improve their product, there’s already a small flurry of votes happening.
Apparently, Sam is sending me back to school.
Sam Lawrence, CMO of Jive Software is one of our customers, and he’s reviewed the service that he’s received from Forrester and another analyst firm. One of scored a “C-”, and the other scored a “B”, read his report card to find out who scored what and why.
Customers in every industry (even the Analyst industry) are being empowered by social media tools, they can directly talk to each other, share experiences, and make decisions –often without the marketer or sales person present. I’ve been preaching this on my blog and in presentations and at my former employers for nearly 4 years.
Is this a disruption? Absolutely.
I advise my clients that the key is for the company to be an active part of the conversation in their marketplace, this is where customers, prospects, and partners will be. I was in a NY taxi when I saw this on Twitter, but pointed to it instantly (Carter says that was the right move), and wasn’t able to respond in the comments, but tweeted it, and I think my colleagues quickly saw it, two of them commented before I was able to get online, and Rob, who was with me at the event also commented.
More important that being part of the conversation, companies need to listen and when appropriate, act on the feedback. So now I need to go back to school (a “B” isn’t good enough), study up and find out what it’s going to take me to get an “A” from Jive and other customers.
Aiming for the honor roll, we’ll keep at it ‘till we do.
I’m very conscious about listening to my community, it’s one of the practices I suggest to my clients, so I’d better eat my own dogfood.
A few days ago, I asked you what you thought about my Twitter usage. Here’s the results, I took some time to count up the 89 comments that came in (some were not relevant) and tried to put them into buckets. I’m pretty anal, so being a researcher is really a good fit.
At SXSW I met someone who works at a PR agency, most of the account managers are following my tweets, and some of them complained to him about my high frequency, ironic.
Here’s what you said (please note some were subjective, I had to force them into buckets, although there’s clearly a trend)
What you told me about my Twitter Usage:
1) How are my tweets doing for you?
A) Too little 4
B) Just right 43
C) Too many 8
2) How is the content?
40 respondents said it was positive
4 said it was mixed or varied
2 said it wasn’t relevant
14 people told me that I shouldn’t care about what anyone says, and just do what I want, since Twitter is opt in.
Well it’s no surprise that I’ve not changed my behaviors at all, and this feedback has reinforced that.
I’ve indicated how I use Twitter, most of the time, I point to things that I think are interesting, and it sends about 50 clicks (and up to 200) clicks from an active opt-in engaged audience of early early adopters.
I’ve been meeting a lot of folks that are readers of this Web Strategy blog here at SXSW. It’s overwhelmingly an amazing feeling to know that folks are improving their careers by learning, connecting with others, and finding links to other resources.
Beyond the initial buzz of meeting all of you, I ask nearly everyone “how could the blog improve?” I’ve received a range of responses, including the following:
“Be more transparent about your day job as an Analyst”
“Don’t be afraid to proudly wave your Forrester reports, you’ve worked hard on them”
“Make it easier for me to find information”
“You post too damn much, slow down”
Feel free to leave a suggestion below, style or content suggestions.
The most common comment by the way is “I don’t know how you do it (in regards to the time) and “Do you have a hobby or loved ones?” You’ll have to find me in person to hear my answer. I love meeting readers, please do come up and say hi, it’s really a pleasure for me to get to know you!
On my twitter profile page, I have a link to a post that indicates how I use Twitter. I try to be forthcoming on what to expect. It’s also no secret that I tweet links to just about anything I think is interesting, add anyone who adds me, and I ask many questions to my network. I rarely talk about my ‘lunch’, and nearly everything I tweet about is related to social media, web marketing, business, and sometimes politics. On average, I’ve calculated I tweet about 15 times a day, pretty much once an hour per awake hour. For me, it is the most immediate conversation I can have, I love the interaction.
Spectrum: My tweets are too much
Last night, Tom Foremski, a former colleague of mine and current friend, suggested that my tweets were becoming near “scoblish” due to frequency. Ted Shelton, entrepreneur and one of the leads at the Conversation Group whipped out his iPhone and showed how I’ve dominated his news feed as an example. Most people aren’t following as many as I am (I follow over 4000), so to me, I don’t appear to be dominating the main feed when I visit it, I’ll be revisiting my perspective to think bigger,sorry.
At the GSP conference, I warned folks that I’d be doing a blow-by-blow of what I thought was interesting, and about 3 people complained that it was too much. Of course, I let folks know on Twitter I’d cut back, but there were over 10 people who told me to keep it up, and those that don’t like it could simply unfollow. I shifted my behavior and put all my notes on blog posts instead.
Spectrum: Some would pay money for my tweets
On the other hand, Bill Johnston, who is one of the community manager mavens told me last week that he’d actually PAY MONEY for my tweets. He later followed it up, and said only a small amount of course (as my eyebrows went up, heh), as he says my links are a filter for him to all topics social media and I’m actually saving him time.
Also, the more I tweet, there’s intrinsic personal, career, and business benefits, the more I’m in the conversation the more I’m learning about the social media sphere I’m being paid to analyze, and it helps me get the word out about things that help what’s important to me. I also ask questions, to gauge responses, understand viewpoints, it fuels and focuses some of my research activities (but not all). I also noticed that it’s a great way to send traffic, I get 50-200 click throughs (from an engaged and opt-in audience) on anything I point to on twitter, and it costs me 5 seconds.
I continue to get more and more followers every day, and I think that’s great, but I really want to respect everyone’s experience, but at the same time, I know it will be impossible to please everyone.
Your opinion wanted
Social Media is about listening and about coming half way or more to those you’re trying to reach, and I’ll abide by that, so I’m asking you for your opinion.
So I’d like to take a blog poll, and get your feedback, if you’re a friend, client, colleague, vendor, whoever. Please be brutally honest, I don’t mind, I’ll be pretty damn honest with you about what I think, so I’d expect the same, besides, it’s in your best interest for your experience. If you’re feeling shy, feel free to leave an anonymous comment, but please chime in regardless.
Please respond on the comments below:
1) How are my tweets doing for you?
A) Too little
B) Just right
C) Too many
2) How is the content?
Open ended question
I’m listening, I really am, and your feedback will shape my actions.
Update: A few hours later
over 80 comments on the first day, I don’t even need to tally, but it’s clear that based upon the feedback of the community, that it’s suggested that I continue to tweet the same way as before. For those that find it too much, I don’t mind if you unsubscribe, in fact, I encourage it, as I don’t want to disrupt your experience.
I did learn a few things: I’ll strive to keep the value high (and not talk about my lunch) but will try to space out the tweets a little better, so I don’t totally disrupt your stream.
Thank you all for your honest feedback, I’m listening and reacting to your comments.
Updated: A week later
Being the anal guy I am (a good reason to be an analyst) I’ve tallied the results from the comments in the blog, see results.